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American Killed in Mass Stabbing as Palestinian Terror Attacks Continue

03-09-2016
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JERUSALEM, Israel – Terror attacks continued in the nation's capital and elsewhere Wednesday morning, following a horrific stabbing that killed a 29-year-old American tourist the evening before.

Police identified the attacker as Bashar Masalha, a 22-year-old resident of Kalkilya, an Arab city under Palestinian Authority control.

Masalha went on a stabbing rampage near the Jaffa port, a popular tourist destination, killing Taylor Force, a graduate student at Vanderbilt University.

Nicholas Zeppos, chairman of the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt, issued a statement saying, "This horrific act of violence has robbed our Vanderbilt family of a young hopeful life and all of the bright promise that he held for bettering our greater world."

About a mile from where the mass stabbing took place, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was visiting the Peres Center for Peace.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement encouraging "all parties to take affirmative steps to reduce tensions and restore calm," saying "there is absolutely no justification for terrorism."

Wednesday morning, an Israeli in his 50s suffered critical injuries to his upper body after two terrorists rammed their vehicle into passengers at a light rail stop near Jerusalem's Damascus Gate.

The Damascus Gate, used by both Arabs and Jews to enter the Old City, has been the site of multiple terror attacks over the past several months.

Police neutralized both terrorists at the scene of the attack.

Earlier Wednesday, passengers on a Jerusalem bus spotted two armed gunmen targeting the bus. A passerby fired at the terrorists, who immediately fled. Police set up road blocks, began searching for them, later locating the vehicle and the gunmen near the Old City. The gunmen opened fire at security forces, who returned fire, killing them.

A passerby took a bullet to the chest in the crossfire and was transported to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in critical condition.

Meanwhile, forces at a checkpoint near Kalkilya thwarted another attempted stabbing Wednesday morning.

"An assailant armed with a knife attempted to stab forces at a checkpoint south of Kalkilya," the IDF Spokesman's Office said in a statement. "The forces thwarted the attack, responding to the immediate threat and shot the assailant, resulting in his death."

Earlier the same day, a 50-year-old Arab Israeli resident attempted to stab Border Police officers on Haggai Street, which leads from the Damascus Gate to the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, pulling a knife out of her bag and lunging at them. Officers shot and killed her.

"The officers who were in clear and present danger responded quickly and professionally," a police statement read.

Earlier Tuesday, security personnel at the Kalandiya checkpoint spotted a large knife in a woman's bag as it went through the X-ray machine. She admitted to planning a stabbing attack.

On Monday, security forces arrested an Arab woman planning to stab security guards at a checkpoint near Jerusalem's Abu Dis neighborhood.

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